The Pilgrim boys volleyball team has cruised to a hot start this spring so far, topping Exeter-West Greenwich in three sets last Friday to improve its record to a perfect 6-0 on the year.
The Pats had a breakout campaign last spring, qualifying for the postseason and advancing to the semifinals, where they lost to eventual champion East Greenwich 3-1.
Pilgrim coach Mike McGiveron has been pleased with his club’s start to the season.
“Each season you go in and you’re never really sure what you’re going to get. We generally have a high turnover in seniors each year so you never really know who’s going to get better over the summer. I knew we had a good team going in and we’ve played very well to this point,” said McGiveron, who admits that last year’s finish has been motivation for the 2019 club. “It’s actually a big thing. That’s something that we talked about earlier in the year, there has been an unfinished business type of attitude. Half of the contributor’s to last year’s group are back and were heavily involved during the loss so they took it to heart. There were some changes for the better to help us get even further which is a long-term goal of ours.”
Some key returners for Pilgrim include seniors Dave D’Andrea, Jaron Petrozzi and Max Caracuzzo. Junior Ethan Laramee has also emerged as one of Pilgrim’s top weapons, along with Nicholas Jaggi and Brandon Yang.
“I think this year, more so than a lot of other years, we have great team chemistry. Our upperclassmen really enjoy being around each other which has carried on throughout the season. They’ve all played other sports together which has helped too, they all really enjoy being on the court together which is a great thing,” said McGiveron.
Not only have the returning leaders been stepping up for the Pats, but so have some of the newcomers as well.
“We’re very similar (to last year), but I would say that we’re a better passing team than last year. Sophomore Robbie Schmitt became our libero this year and really has solidified our passing game along with Brandon Yang. I think that passing attack has made us that much more consistent and also that much more deadly. We’ve also a better job serving this year. We are an aggressive serving team but also a high percentage team which has boded well for us,” said McGiveron.
The Pats will now face Exeter West-Greenwich for the second time in as many weeks, and will be taking on subdivision opponent Cranston West after. McGiveron feels that the next few matches will be key for Pilgrim, and will be a good measuring stick for how the Pats truly stack up in Division II.
“(The start) been big. Our schedule was heavily-loaded in away matches, it’s been a test for us and we have played some really good opponents and have come out on top,” said McGiveron. “We have Exeter and then Cranston West … those two matches should give us an idea of where we’re at.”